Egypt and the Arab Spring Revolution
Monday, January 9, 2012
5-7 p.m. -- "The Challenges of the Arab Spring Revolution in Egypt"
Karima Korayem, Professor of Economics - Al-Azhar University, Egypt
With discussion by Gouda Abdel-Khalek, Minister of Supply and Domestic Trade - Egypt,
and Hassan Aly, Professor of Economics, The Ohio State University
Barrister Club, 25 W. 11th Ave., Columbus, OH 43201
(Located across 11th Avenue from Drinko Hall and above Panera Bread)
Karima Korayem is professor of economics at the Faculty of Commerce (Girls), Al-Azhar University. She has served as a consultant to several organizations such as the UN, World Bank, International Development Research Centre, and League of Arab States. She has contributed to more than 60 international and national publications on development issues like poverty, income distribution, globalization, and economic policies. Her books include Structural Adjustment, Stabilization Policies, and the Poor in Egypt (American University in Cairo Press), and Poverty and Social Exclusion in the Mediterranean (CROP Publications, with Maria Petmesidou). She earned her PhD in economics at McMaster University, Ontario, Canada.
Gouda Abdel-Khalek is minister of supply and domestic trade in Egypt, and professor of economics at the Faculty of Economics, Cairo University. He served as minister of solidarity and social justice in the previous Egyptian administration, and was one of the country's major opposition leaders. In addition to serving as advisor to various national organizations in Egypt, Abdel-Khalek has served as an international consultant for the United Nations, Population Council, International Development Research Centre and World Bank. He holds a PhD from McMaster University (Canada), and his research interests include globalization and financial crises, macro policies for poverty reduction, economic reform, and industrialization policies.
Hassan Aly specializes in the economies of the Middle East. He researches constructing and assessing economic indicators in the Middle East. He studies financial markets, labor markets, costs and benefits of social policies, and models of decision making at the firm level. Among other courses, Aly teaches "Economics of the Middle East," "Economic Development," and "Economics of Labor" on the Columbus and Marion campuses of The Ohio State University. More information about Aly can be found on his departmental web page.
The Arab Spring Revolution is facing three main challenges:
Restoring Security: The lack of security is the first complaint of the Egyptians at present; they don't feel safe in the streets, at home, at work, etc. Lack of security has been also reflected in traffic chaos, which forms another source for public complaints. There are several factors which have lead to this result and which need to be tackled strictly. Although the security is relatively better at present as compared to eight months ago, when the youth revolution started, there are still much to be done to achieve an overall security in the country.
Having a Comprehensive Economic View: The government lacks an economic view that targets raising growth and creating employment opportunities. The problem with the government is that each minister is dealing on his own with the problems and challenges in his ministry, which are many, without having an economic view for all the ministries to revolve the production wheel again, with all what this implies of raising production and creating employment. To achieve that, the government needs to have a think tank (as a high profile institute, or a group of well chosen experts), that puts alternative scenarios for an overall economic plan in which all the ministries have an assigned role to play, and also identifying the policies which enhance the private sector's role in investment and production within the market economy system adopted in Egypt.
Establishing Democracy: The question is how to achieve democracy, with all what it involves of having multiple competitive political parties and a respectable election rules for choosing the president with limited powers by law. Changing the previous system which has been prevailing for almost 60 years (after the 1952 revolution), and which consists of one dominant party that formulates consistently the government is not an easy task. Even when Sadat, followed by Mubarak, allowed the existence of more than one political party, there continued to be one dominant party headed by the president and has always formed the government. One important factor for achieving democracy is that all those parties are competitive in power and have equal chance to formulate the government.
For more information, please see http://mershoncenter.osu.edu/events/11-12events/Jan12/egyptandthearabspringjan12.htm